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CPD conformity and Energy Saving Trust partnership

Submitted by: MikeC (Admin) on 14-Aug-08 12:32:24 AM

Delegates representing the lot of Domestic Energy Assessors (DEAs) occupied Eland House on Tuesday (5th Aug 08) to participate in the second DEA Workshop organised by the CLG.

The day was divided into two halves to address the feedback aired during the first 'Forum Meeting' held on 2nd July 2008, namely:

  1. CPD
  2. Energy Saving Trust (EST) collaboration (in part 2)

CPD common policy

One delegate in attendance representing the Institute of Home Inspection (IHI) was Joseph Pestell of Energenius Ltd. He summed-up the hopes of the CPD workshop, saying: "We have now, at long last, made progress towards what could be a common policy on CPDs so that everybody will know what's expected of them."

He thinks a common "open standard" will make life easier not only for energy assessors, but for accreditation schemes too.

Jackie Oliver, a Trustee of the Institute of Home Inspection (IHI) welcomed the initiative, saying: "Anything that levels the playing field has got to be a good thing."

Multi-accreditation = Multi-CPD

Illustrating how the current inconsistent CPD requirements across all accreditation schemes can hinder access to work, she recalled how last year, after Government began phasing-in Home Information Packs (HIPs) on 4-bed properties and above (around 20% of annual transactions), DEAs scrambled to join two or three accreditation schemes in order to place themselves with panels offering work only to DEAs belonging to schemes they had relationships with.

For multi-accredited DEAs, she said: "It's like needing to have three different driving licences - one for each different make of car - that never seemed right to me".

Asset Skills developing CPD framework

The draft minutes of the meeting record that Asset Skills are already developing a new CPD framework.

Apparently this was in response to concerns made at the first meeting, and influenced by the results of a survey the IHI conducted amongst the wider DEA community last month.

Uniform CPD hours

During the session it was agreed a minimum requirement of 5 hours "technical" CPD should be adopted to facilitate further expected updates to the RdSAP, at least whilst it is refined during the first few years.

Delegates, including representatives of accreditation schemes, are now awaiting a CLG Working Paper which is expected to propose an overall universal minimum of 10 hours CPD training per year, including the 5 hours of "technical" CPD.

So what should Domestic Energy Assessors study in the remaining five hours?

It is hoped that by making universally-acceptable course material easier for training providers to develop, a wider range of CPD courses will become available for DEAs to choose from, closer to home!

Joseph Pestell said the DEA Workshop recommended that "accreditation schemes form a panel which will validate CPD courses". He went on to suggest how training providers might then submit a course summary to the panel, together with the expected learning outcome, which will either be universally approved, or not!

But whether this additional layer of bureaucracy works or not, hinges upon the reaction of accreditation schemes later this month (Aug), when they meet to discuss the Working Paper at their next "Infrastructure Group" meeting.

Quidos Managing Director, Philip Salaman, sounded cautious: "We have always supported the idea of an open uniform standard, so if it comes off, we would welcome it."

Note use of the word, "if", there.

CPD - licence to print money?

Some DEAs believe that certain schemes are trying to profiteer by charging for in-house CPD courses whilst making it difficult for third-party courses to be recognised. One such DEA, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "Good! I'm switching next year because I'm being cornered to attend two in-house CPD courses which means overnight stays and loss of income."

Adding: "I was interested in a course which has been CPD-approved by other accreditors, but not mine. The [course] provider told me he has been waiting weeks to hear but can't get an answer - he's not happy and thinks it's deliberate."

Other training topics

Other topics discussed during the session include:

  • Mystery shoppers! - to gather evidence of malpractice (including excessive help on completing portfolios) and outrageous claims made by training providers.
  • Quality mark: a stamp of approval awarded to training providers, reminiscent of a kitemark.
  • Further Education Colleges: encourage to provide a route for trainees to qualify.

Energy Savings Trust (EST): marketing the EPC-Plus

The afternoon Workshop discussed probably the most interesting plan (already) in-motion: to provide an "EPC-Plus" (my moniker) to homeowners.

The service is expected to be marketed to homeowners by the EST later this year.

Because this session deserves context, I have decided to split this into another follow-up post so it doesn't become too unwieldy.

Stay tuned.

You can view the results of IHI's DEA survey here.

[Added part two: DEA Workshop with CLG: Energy Saving Trust Alliance]

[Corrections made (20:40 hrs): removed number of delegates as no clear consensus. Also, some travel expenses were apparently met, not all expenses - Thanks to Ron Smith-Galer for the heads-up]

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